The first course that MBA students take introduces them to the challenges and rewards of learning how to form, manage, and participate in teams. Sometimes, it can seem like a trial by fire.
The importance of working well in teams is emphasized from the first day at Yale SOM. At the very start of their first semester, students take Managing Groups & Teams, a weeklong immersion meant to jump-start their team-building education. Managing Groups & Teams mixes theory with practice, first teaching students how to effectively manage teams and then assigning exercises where they get to test that knowledge. The course is also a chance for students to get to know the members of their learning teams. These groups of eight or nine work together closely throughout the first year.
The Yale SOM integrated curriculum provides escalating team-based challenges, pushing students to extend and deepen their skills. In the spring term, they tackle Global Virtual Teams and work on an operations assignment with peers at other business schools in the Global Network for Advanced Management. Many students also lead clubs, launch new ventures, or work on academic projects with students from other parts of Yale, building a diverse set of team experiences and capabilities.
But it all starts with Managing Groups & Teams. And, as one team found out this year, with new challenges come opportunities to learn.